Use Upcycled Materials to Create Holiday Decor

From used holiday lights to empty gift wrap tubes, here are 12 unique ways to create holiday decor from common upcycled materials.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Newspaper Trees

Create tabletop trees from newspaper and cardboard boxes. Cut cardboard boxes down into flat sheets, then roll each sheet into a conical form. Next, cut the uneven cardboard along the bottom of the conical and keep both ends of the cardboard fastened together with glue. Next, cut newspaper into 4-inch strips, then fray the newspaper with scissors. Wrap each conical with the layers of frayed newspaper, then secure them in place with glue.

Gift Wrap Tube Deer

Add a playful touch to tabletop surfaces with reindeer made from recycled gift wrap tubes. To make, cut the tubes to size with a utility knife, allowing 4 inches of length for the body and 2 inches of length for the head. Next, cut twigs with floral shears, then add holes to the bottom of the 4-inch tube and along the top and the bottom of the 2-inch tube. Insert the twigs as legs, antlers and neck, then keep them firmly fastened with glue.

Birch Log Ornaments

Birch logs can be used for many different upcycled projects, including Christmas trees ornaments. Cut birch logs into 1/4-inch discs, then use a drill bit to add a hole along the top. Next, trace shapes onto acetate and cut out with a utility knife. Add the silhouette acetate to the birch log with double-sided tape or glue, then create a hanger by looping ribbon or twine through the hole.

Dripping Paint-Can Planters

With simple DIY skills and leftover paint, you can turn empty paint cans into colorful planters for year-round container gardening. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Beaded Garland Tree

Decorative gift wrap supplies such as beaded string and ribbon are excellent crafting material. Give a sparkly update to cone-shaped floral foam by covering its exterior with beaded string. First, update the cone with acrylic paint in the same color as the beaded string. Next, wrap the entire cone with the string, keeping it held in place with glue.

Birch Log Garland

Give birch firewood logs new purpose as a rustic garland. To make, use a hack saw or a chop saw to cut 1/4-inch discs from each log. Next, use a 1/4-inch drill bit to add two holes on each side of the discs. Lastly, cut yarn or twine to size, then use it to fasten each disc together, side by side. Get ideas for creating a rustic-chic mantel >>

PVC Pipe Wreath

Add an artistic and geometric touch to your outdoor entryway by transforming inexpensive plumbing material into modern Christmas decor. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Magazine Garland

All caught up on your latest magazine reads? Put those colorful, glossy pages to good use as a mantel garland. Tear out each page, then tear into thirds. Next, roll each strip of torn paper into a conical shape, using glue to keep it firmly held together. Lastly, insert twine or yarn through the hollow centers and place each conical side-by-side.

Cardboard Cones

Cardboard craft cones are given a glam update with metallic spray paint. To create the look of a sculptural tree, cover the cardboard cone with paint by keeping the spray can 8 inches from its surface and moving back and forth in even, controlled spurts.

Vintage Book Banner

Turn old books into a timeless holiday banner that showcases your favorite seasonal phrase. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Mason Jar Lid Ornament

Use buttons to dress upcycled objects as ornaments. Here, a simple Mason jar lid was turned into a tree ornament by covering its interior with glitter paper and an assortment of decorative buttons. More ways to decorate with buttons >>

Light Bulb Wreath

Year after year, colored twinkle light bulbs are certain to burn out. Instead of tossing them out, collect them for decorating wreath forms. Here, an all red wreath is created by adding glue to the backs of discarded red bulbs, then using them to decorate the front of the wreath.